Conrad Gozzo

Conrad Gozzo (February 6, 1922 – October 8, 1964) was an American trumpet player born in New Britain, Connecticut. Gozzo was a member of the NBC Hollywood staff orchestra at the time of his death.

Conrad Gozzo
Born(1922-02-06)February 6, 1922
New Britain, Connecticut
DiedOctober 8, 1964(1964-10-08) (aged 42)
Burbank, California
Years active1938–1964

Early lifeEdit

Conrad Joseph Gozzo[1][better source needed] was born in New Britain, Connecticut on February 6, 1922 to Mildred Katz and Jimmy Gozzo. His father played trumpet, and Gozzo began studying the instrument around the age of 5.[2] He played in his junior and senior high school bands, but left school in 1938 or 1939[a] at the direction of Isham Jones to join bandleader and clarinetist Tommy Reynolds in Boston, Massachusetts.[4][3][5]


Shaw's band on January 30, 1943. Gozzo is the third trumpet from the left.[6]

Gozzo was quickly noted for his exceptional technical ability and style.[7] He played under Reynolds for nine months, leaving to play with Red Norvo in November 1939; he played under Norvo until February 1941, but with a brief interlude playing with trumpeter Johnnie Davis.[8] Gozzo had a brief tenure with the orchestra of Bob Chester, with whom Gozzo first recorded, then performed and recorded with Claude Thornhill's band.[9][5][10] There he met vocalist Betty Claire, who he married in late 1941. Thornhill's band dissolved in October 1942.[11]

Gozzo briefly worked with Benny Goodman, then enlisted in the U.S. Navy in mid-November 1942, where clarinetist Artie Shaw had formed a band named the Rangers No. 501.[12] The group was first assigned to San Francisco and left for Hawaii in late December.[13] They toured in the South Pacific, the U.K. and the mainland U.S. until being discharged in October 1945. Gozzo briefly rejoined Goodman along with fellow trumpet players from Shaw's band.[14][15]

Gozzo, lead trumpeter on the Glen Gray, Stan Kenton, and Harry James "remakes", and in Dan Terry's 1954 Columbia sessions, recorded extensively with arrangers Van Alexander, Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Ray Conniff, Jerry Fielding and Shorty Rogers, and also with performers Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Gozzo played first trumpet on all of the recordings of composer Henry Mancini. He routinely performed on many major live television shows which were broadcast on the NBC network, including the Dinah Shore Show (1955 through 1964). Gozzo also performed on motion picture soundtracks including The Glenn Miller Story, The Benny Goodman Story, Bye Bye Birdie, Call Me Madam, Ben-Hur and Cleopatra. He also performed on the Ella Fitzgerald two-record set on Verve (Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Harold Arlen Songbook).

Gozzo's nicknames were "Goz" and "Gopher", due to his resemblance to a gopher when viewed from the front while he was playing. He was considered by his colleagues as being an exceptionally strong trumpeter with a well-developed range and tonal quality. For most of his recording career, he played a Besson Meha trumpet with a custom Bert Herrick mouthpiece. Occasionally, he played a Chicago Benge or a LeBlanc Gozzo model trumpet.

Death and legacyEdit

Gozzo died on October 8, 1964 of liver disease at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California.[16] On November 15, 1964, a concert raising money for his widow was held at the Hollywood Palladium, including singers Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and Dinah Shore.[17]

"A Trumpeter's Prayer" (1957) by Tutti Camarata originally featured Gozzo, and was performed on November 19, 1989 in New Britain for the 25th anniversary of his death.[18] Jazz composer Sammy Nestico dedicated "Portrait of a Trumpet" to Gozzo.[19]


With Georgie Auld

With Louis Bellson

With Buddy Bregman

With Ray Brown

With Hoagy Carmichael

With Benny Carter

With Sammy Davis Jr

With Henry Mancini

With Shorty Rogers

With Pete Rugolo



  1. ^ Many sources state that Gozzo left in 1938, but Harold S. Kaye suggests February 1939, noting discrepancies such as a postcard from Gozzo marked for March 21 stating "it took several weeks for me to get settled" and The New Britain Herald's stating on March 11, 1939 that Gozzo "recently" joined Jones.[3]


  1. ^ "Gozzo, Conrad". Grove Music Online. 20 January 2002. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.J174200. ISBN 978-1-56159-263-0. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  2. ^ Kaye 1992a, p. 1.
  3. ^ a b Kaye 1992b, p. 14.
  4. ^ Kaye 1992a, pp. 2–4.
  5. ^ a b "Bandsman Going Up". The Hartford Courant. February 15, 1942. p. 60. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  6. ^ Kaye 1992b, p. 19.
  7. ^ Kaye 1992b, pp. 18–19.
  8. ^ Kaye 1992b, pp. 16–18.
  9. ^ "Stars Launched on Air Waves". The Hartford Courant. October 12, 1941. p. 59. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  10. ^ Kaye 1992b, pp. 19–20.
  11. ^ Kaye 1992b, p. 20.
  12. ^ Kaye 1992c, p. 20.
  13. ^ Kaye 1992c, p. 18.
  14. ^ Kaye 1992c, p. 32.
  15. ^ Cushman, Howard (November 21, 1945). "King of Swing Goes Barnstorming". The St. Louis Star and Times. p. 14. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  16. ^ "Music World Mourns Death of Conrad Gozzo". The Los Angeles Times. October 10, 1964. p. 35. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  17. ^ Bannister, Everett J. (November 30, 1964). "Letters to the Times: Gozzo Benefit". The Los Angeles Times. p. 40. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  18. ^ Renwick, Lucille (November 20, 1989). "Trumpeter's trumpeter remembered". The Hartford Courant. p. 223. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Band to Give Concert". The Hartford Courant. April 24, 1971. p. 2. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  20. ^ Liner notes to RCA Victor LP LSP-1956
  21. ^ Liner notes to RCA Victor LP LSP-2040
  22. ^ Liner notes to RCA Victor LP LPM-2147
  23. ^ Liner notes to RCA Victor LP LSP-2692


  • Kaye, Harold S. (Spring 1992a). "The Great 'Goz' – Part 1". IAJRC Journal. 25 (2): 1–5. ISSN 0098-9487.
  • —— (Summer 1992b). "The Great 'Goz': The Conrad Gozzo Story – Part 2". IAJRC Journal. 25 (3): 14–20. ISSN 0098-9487.
  • —— (Fall 1992c). "The Great 'Goz': The Conrad Gozzo Story – Part 3". IAJRC Journal. 25 (4): 16–23. ISSN 0098-9487.
  • —— (Winter 1993a). "The Great 'Goz': The Conrad Gozzo Story – Part 4". IAJRC Journal. 26 (1): 29–36. ISSN 0098-9487.
  • —— (Spring 1993b). "The Great 'Goz': The Conrad Gozzo Story – Part 5". IAJRC Journal. 26 (2): 54–62. ISSN 0098-9487.

External linksEdit